Tag Archives: Port City Brewing

Thoughts for Next Year’s VA Cask Festival

I attended the first Virginia Cask Festival this past Saturday, April 21st.  Arriving a bit late, the crowd was noticeably thin but buzzing excitement.  Everyone in the room was there for beer. I started out light with Devils Backbone’s Wit Bier then dived head first into Hardywood’s Bourbon Cru.  By all accounts, Hardywood’s Cru was a crowd favorite.  In addition to the Cru, Mad Fox’s Wee Heavy and Williamsburg Alewerk’s Choca-Latte were a malt lovers dream in a room of IPAs. I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Madden of Mad Fox for the first time and thanked him for bringing one of my personal favorites from the Falls Church brewery.  I will say the only beer I was disappointed with was O’Connor’s Great Dismal Black IPA.  Normally, a favorite of mine, something about the addition of coffee did not work for me.  On the other hand, I found Starr Hill’s Double Platinum quite enjoyable and balanced as it is normally too hoppy for me.

Turning thoughts to next year’s festival, there are a couple items that I think would make next year’s festival even better.

More Breweries

With only eleven breweries in attendance, it may have been difficult for people to justify the price of admission.  The festival was a fundraiser for the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild; breweries who were not guild members were rightfully not allowed to participate. So in order to grow the festival, more Virginia breweries need to join the guild.  VCBG has done a great job promoting craft beer in Virginia, most notably the passing of SB 604 which will allow breweries(member or not) to sell pints without having to server  food.

Location

If we are able to increase the number of breweries at the festival, it would most likely necessitate a larger venue. Capital Ale House’s Music Hall was the perfect size for this years festival but add another five or ten breweries in the mix and the room could feel cramped.  I think Kanawha Plaza would be a nice step up from the Music Hall plus Richmond loves an outdoor festival.

How can you help? Next time you visit a Virginia brewery ask if they are VCBG members.  If they say no, ask them why not.  If they say yes, thank them for making great beer here at home.

Virginia Cask Ale Festival Picks

Heading out to the inaugural Tap into Virginia Cask Festival today, Saturday, April 21st, at the Downtown Capital Ale House Music Hall. Here are my personal first six picks:

  • Hardywood Park Craft BreweryBourbon Barrel Quad Yes you could wait to get it next weekend but why wait?!
  • Mad Fox Brewing  — Wee Heavy Scotch AleNot available in Richmond; you’d have to drive up to NoVA to have anymore of their great beers.
  • Devils Backbone Brewing — 1)Wit Bier – 4.5% ABV, 15 IBU  Belgian-style witbier that is hazy straw in color, light in body, with a refreshing fruity spicy finish. Spiced with coriander, orange peel, szechuan peppercorn, and brewed with an aromatic Belgian yeast strain to create a complex yet delicate wheat ale.  2) White Stag IPA – 7.0% ABV, 50 IBU’s.  A wheat IPA that blends aspects of American IPA’s, British IPA’s, and wheat ales . Brewed with 4 types of malted & un-malted wheat, kettle hopped with both American and English hops, and dry hopped with East Kent Goldings to create a beer that’s uniquely its own. Choose between two Devils Backbone beers? Not going to happen.
  • O’Connor BrewingGreat Dismal Black IPA –  infused with “Old Havana Cuban Coffee Blend” from Virginia Espresso in Norfolk, chocolate and vanilla bean.  ABV- 8%. A personal favorite so of course it’s here.
  • Wild Wolf BrewingTom Tom Founders Festival Ale — White IPA with extreme citrus and tropical hop notes added to the flavor of a traditional belgian wit, dry hopped with a pound of cascade. The brew used more than 60 pounds of local VA wildflower honey.  70IBU 5.5% ABV White IPAs are a very new style so I’m looking forward to trying this one from another Nelson county brewery. 

Have fun out there!

Thirteen Real Ales to be Tapped for Inaugural Virginia Cask Festival

Tomorrow, Friday April 20th, is the last day you can buy advance tickets to the inaugural Tap into Virginia Cask Festival.  The festival will be held at the Downtown Capital Ale House Music Hall for two sessions on Saturday, April 21st.

If you’re still on the fence about attending this Saturday, maybe this complete list of thirteen casks of real ale from eleven Virginia breweries will change your mind:

  • Legend BrewingGolden IPA (dry hopped with Citra hops and aged with French oak chips)
  • Hardywood Park Craft BreweryBourbon Barrel Quad & Hoplar
  • Starr Hill BrewingDouble Platinum – dry hopped with Centennial hops
  • Mad Fox Brewing  — Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
  • Port City Brewing  — Monumental IPA
  • Lost Rhino BrewingFace Plant IPA
  • Devils Backbone Brewing — 1) Wit Bier – 4.5% ABV, 15 IBU  Belgian-style witbier that is hazy straw in color, light in body, with a refreshing fruity spicy finish. Spiced with coriander, orange peel, szechuan peppercorn, and brewed with an aromatic Belgian yeast strain to create a complex yet delicate wheat ale.  2) White Stag IPA – 7.0% ABV, 50 IBU’s.  A wheat IPA that blends aspects of American IPA’s, British IPA’s, and wheat ales . Brewed with 4 types of malted & un-malted wheat, kettle hopped with both American and English hops, and dry hopped with East Kent Goldings to create a beer that’s uniquely its own.
  • Williamsburg AlewerksChoco-Latte (Double Coffee Stout infused with Dutch chocolate and vanilla bean)
  • O’Connor BrewingGreat Dismal Black IPA –  infused with “Old Havana Cuban Coffee Blend” from Virginia Espresso in Norfolk, chocolate and vanilla bean.  ABV- 8%.
  • Wild Wolf BrewingTom Tom Founders Festival Ale — White IPA with extreme citrus and tropical hop notes added to the flavor of a traditional belgian wit, dry hopped with a pound of cascade. The brew used more than 60 pounds of local VA wildflower honey.  70IBU 5.5% ABV
  • St. George BrewingImperial Pale Ale – 10% ABV English style pale ale with 100% UK Fuggles and dry hopped with  UK Fuggles.

Remember, real ale is truly beer in its most natural delicious state. All proceeds from the festival go to support the work of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild.  What are you waiting for?  Get your tickets to the afternoon (noon – 4pm) or evening (6 – 10pm) session. Head over to the festival website or Facebook event for further updates.

Capital Ale House
623 E Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219
804-780-2537

Richmond, Get Ready for Real Ale!

How fresh do you like your beer? If the answer is REAL fresh, then get ready for real ale Richmond!  The Tap into Virginia Cask Festival will be the first cask festival to happen in Richmond and most likely Virginia as well.  The festival will be held at the downtown Capital Ale House Music Hall for two sessions on Saturday, April 21st.

Not familiar with cask or real ale? There are three main points when talking about real ale:

  • Top-fermented beer that completes its secondary fermentation in the container from which it is served
  • Served at cellar temperatures and often dry-hopped
  • Not filtered or pasteurized

The festival will feature casks of real ale from eleven Virginia breweries:

Legend Brewing
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Starr Hill Brewing
Mad Fox Brewing
Port City Brewing
Lost Rhino Brewing
Devils Backbone Brewing
Williamsburg Alewerks
O’Connor Brewing
Wild Wolf Brewing
St. George Brewing

I am very interested in seeing what Mad Fox Brewing will have to offer. Here are three casks that have been confirmed:

  • Starr Hill — Double Platinum IPA dry-hopped with Centennial hops
  • O’Connor — Great Dismal Black IPA — Infused with “Old Havana Cuban Coffee Blend” from Virginia Espresso in Norfolk, as well as chocolate and vanilla bean.
  • Devils Backbone — White Stag IPA. A wheat IPA that blends aspects of American IPA’s, British IPA’s, and wheat ales. Brewed with 4 types of malted & un-malted wheat, kettle hopped with both American and English hops, and dry hopped with East Kent Goldings to create a beer that’s uniquely its own.

Remember, real ale is truly beer in its most natural delicious state. All proceeds from the festival go to support the work of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild.  So go ahead and get your tickets to the afternoon (noon – 4pm) or evening (6 – 10pm) session. Head over to the festival website or Facebook event for further updates.

Capital Ale House
623 E Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219
804-780-2537